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tv   White House Chronicles  WHUT  October 30, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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captioned by the national captioning institute >> hello. i am llewellyn king. "white house chronicle" is coming right up. first, a few thoughts of my own. we are going to have the world covered. do you know what? we won't know what party the candidate is from. from the various colors, you might work it out. one of the candidates wish to
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be identified by their party. vote for jim, he is wonderful, but to do not know if he is conservative or liberal. he will not tell you what his affiliation is. it is like those other signs that drive me mad. there is going to be a public hearing on the development and it says "zone zyp." what the devil does that mean? we don't know what is going on. they can pretend that they tell us what is going on. i think we should be told what is going on in our native tongue so we can understand it. politicians should have the courage to state their party affiliation at all times, not just when it is convenient. i have a remarkable program coming up for you today with one of the most gifted writers and broadcasters in america, my friend from cbs news, dan raviv.
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we will talk about espionage, about spies, about the dark side of the security apparatus of every country. he is fascinating on the subject. you are going to love this. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboratio with whut, howard university television. now, llewellyn king and co-host linda gasparello. >> hello and thank you for coming along. i am joined by linda gasparello, co-host of this program. i promise you, the great dan raviv. here is the great dan raviv. you can hear him on cbs radio just about anywhere you are.
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welcome. i have in front of me three of your books. "comic wars" was one of the best books written about wall street shenanigans, huge money, a giant egos, bad, greedy lawyers, etc. it is right up there with "barbarians at the gate" and some others that have been written about what goes on at wall street when you have an awful lot of money sloshing around plus egos. i hope it gets republished because it is worth reading. we have your books about spying. one has this under the wonderful title, "every spy a prince." in the prologue here, it is explained where you got that title. >> when llewellyn king tells you to read, you read. earlier, you ask me where that title came from. it turns out i heard a quotation from the bible being read on a
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radio show. you never know what you will hear on the radio. that will work for a title. it is from the book of numbers. the lord spoke to moses, saying, send men that they should spy out the land of canaan. of every tribe show you send a man, everyone a prince among them. moses was instructed to choose the princes of the tribes to be the spies. how about that? >> i think it is marvelous. the third book, which is also a major piece of work, is "fringe indeed." >> this was our attempt to explain why such a big country, the u.s. come and such a rigid such a tiny country, israel, have been so close. this is a massive issue with president obama. some people think it is leaning away from israel to achieve more
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progress between the israelis and palestinians. so far, the dividend is near zero. it has not worked out. >> it is fairly new, though, given how long the country has been -- >> it is only this year. mr. obama decided to be not george w. bush. on this particular issue -- >> i would say that was a good decision. >> it won him a nobel peace prize. >> the issue, not being gb means not being 110% with israel -- not being george w. bush means not being 110% with israel. mr. obama has decided to make demands. you must freeze all settlements. that will build confidence. you must take roadblocks down. >> when they happen after we
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have said don't do it, some spokesman, maybe the secretary of state, maybe the press spokesman, says it is not helpful. >> we will see how it works with the obama administration. israel has refused to take on settlements and has refused to please them. they have said they will act with restraint and won't take over and the arab-owned land in the west bank. there are fewer roadblocks. did the israelis say, it was our idea? we have taken down roadblocks. there are suit -- there are fewer suicide bombings. when it comes to gaza, where hamas is in command, there is no progress at all. nothing the u.s.s saying is making a difference. hamas controls the gaza and a not very strong palestinian authority is in the west bank. i'm afraid nothing will move forward in a confident way. >> most people watching this
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broadcast are not familiar with that region. it is hard to understand how small is really is, how tiny gaza is, 1.5 million people in it, and how chopped up in various ways the west bank is. >> that is the key. >> the firstime i went across the famous bridge, the river jordan, row the boat ashore, i could not get the votes anywhere. >> there's hardly any water. >> there are a lot of machine guns. it is hard for americans to understand. >> let's take an extension on that. it extends to the power balance with israeli -- between u.s. and
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israel. on your theme today of espionage, spying on the u.s., how does the u.s. know what is happening in the middle east, with israel being tiny, it has always felt it has to have the edge on information, on technology. it cannot afford to make mistakes. it is a mentality. >> why does israel spy on the united states? >> israel says it doesn't. that is the first ring. there was a notorious case in 1985. one man got a life sentence. he wked for naval intelligence. he did deliver secret documents, photos, two israelis in washington. he was caught. he tried to seek shelter -- seek shelter in the israeli embassy, but the israelis refuse to give them shelter. the fbi arrested him. he was branded by israel as a roguoperation.
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it was part of the israeli defense ministry. since then, israel promised not to do anything like it again. the fbi still thinks israel is doing it. >> right, but a lot of it comes from israel feeling that we may not be 100% on israel's side. especially with this administration, this spying needs to go on because we are not so sure the americans are with us. we just had a report in the un that could further emphasize the fact that they are not feeling comfortable about us. it was said that israel should be brought up on war crimes. >> the u.s. voted on the israeli side. >> we did. still -- >> a south african judge did a
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report. >> he was commissioned to look of the gods of war. he said both hamas on the palestinian side and the israelis were guilty of human rights abuses, war crimes. the israelis fear that many israeli military officers and politicians might be brought up on charges by countries in europe. >> we have seen this kind of thing. i. ahmadinejad was arrested in london. >> there have been u.s. officials who fear that some european court might try to prosecute them. >> cia officials -- you try in italy even as we speak, more or less. i want to get to spying. why do people do it? what appeals to them?
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it appeals to me. some do it for money. some fulfil some need in themsees, which is neither money nor ideology. is that right? >> i think it would be. if they have the need --t is a need for betrayal. you have a job. there's something in. we know our friends who cannot keep a secret. some people feel compelled to spill the secret. they feel the power of knowing something and they have to tell somebody. they figure out it is worth something. >> i think it is the secret life and the attraction of the secret life, that they can be very average people, and they have this higher calling. >> that is part of it. don't you agree they usually either decide, this is worth something and i need the money or deserve the money, or they come up with an ideological
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reason. >> it is hard to spend the money because if you are making $120,000 per year as a top person in your living in a $300,000 house, you will stick out like a sore thumb. >> the money side is what gets you caught. >> that is how people get caught in the end. >> an american was recently arrested and charged with trying to spy for israel. the way the department of justice tells it, israel did not do anything more may not have done anything. allegedly, he wanted to sell. that means it was a sting operation. an fbi agent called up, probably with an israeli accent, and said, can we have a meeting? it was at the mayflower hotel. >> you have to believe he was also approached by indian intelligence or by russian
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intelligence. it was not only israeli. >> what do you think about the fbi choosing to pose as israelis? there are some jewish people in the u.s. government who were deeply offended the fbi would do that sting operation. people were posing as arabs. >> i am sure sometimes it is necessary. essentially, you are invited to commit a crime. when you look -- when you start committing it, you are arrested. >> that is entrapment. there is high security clearance for him. he worked for the department of defense and for nasa. he knew a lot about our nuclear detection capabilities. >> which is important for israel. >> not just israel's secret
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program, but israel wants to know how everyone is monitoring iran. barry current stuff. we are not charging that israel is running that. they would he liked to be run. don't you think that is sometimes what spies want? >> the need to run -- it is a distressing thing. many studies have looked at prostitution. the pstitutes seek the pimp for the control. it is distressing. >> it is a psychological phenomenon. for radio listeners on satellite radio and xm radio, we are talking with dan raviv of cbs news radio and linda gasparello
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of this program. we are glad to have our radio listeners with us. i am llewellyn king. >> a this is "white house chronicle." >> you have done this more often than i have. what about the case of spies? it was this wonderful time and it became part of literature. the james bond idea, the high liver, and then sneak out of it. >> that happens sometimes. intelligence agents say the way top cops often tell you, it is generally drudge work and you're waiting around and planning things. once in awhile, something exciting happens. if you are a good spy, nothing dangerous should happen. if you're good at your job, you're cultivating sources.
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you are cultivang your own agents. you're probably paying the money. you are picking up something of a secret location. you're sending it to your mascots -- your masters in moscow. >> it is an extraordinary thing of the cambridge spies, the english spies between the world wars. >> that was the deal logical side. -- the ideological side. >> he was in and out of buckingham palace every day of his life. >> what was interesting about that was anthony blunt and others -- >> and some of them very obvious.
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they were tellable drunks. the two were drunks. >> they said they thought the soviet view of the world as it should be would be fairer. we are looking at stalling, killing people -- at stalin, killing people. they wanted the communist system to succeed. >> one person posed as a journalist. his father was an incredible -- >> his father loved -- >> it was in a house with 12
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baboon's tied to post. >> these are two stories. our most successful spies, you will never learn their names. there will not have been drama. i raise a question for today, especially since 9/11, has the u.s. develop a cadre of people who can penetrate al qaeda, who could be in afghanistan to speak the local language? there are certainly signs that we have kept trying. the cia and other agencies have looked for u.s. citizens who have that language in their family and tried to do it. al qaeda and other groups are family-oriented. a very hard to penetrate a family. >> i asked someone at the central intelligence agency, i'm a journalist. i do get it wrong. everyone gets it wrong. how do know what these guys are
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telling you is true? there was a novel when a spy just made it up. >> intelligence chiefs tell me it is about correlating the information with what other agents tell you, and liaison with friendly countries. the u.s. and the brits, but also germany and france, italy, to the extent they know stuff, iran is a major target. where do things stand with iran pose a nuclear program? if they are agring to export some of the rainy and for the richmond -- some of the uranium for enrichment elsewhere -- >> david ignatius wrote an
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article that says a lot of the low-grade enrichment is corrupted. they cannot get it up high. that might be why they want to get low-grade enrichment. >> that was done by professionals. >> generally, that publication gets the technology right. i am surprised that this is their intention. what is required is espionage to figure out -- >> i think they -- i think we do have good esplanade. we did find out about the corn facility. >> it took a publication to find out that the enrichment was impure and may not be able to be
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made into weapons-grade. >> it took the publication to make that public. we are not sure what our intelligence agencies think about where iran's stance. the last official word that came out was the nie when bush was still president. iran stopped its enrichment after the u.s. invaded iraq. iranians were afraid. that was wrong? >> the israelis say they doubt it. >> i would say the consensus right now is that iran stopped for a while. they saw the u.s. invaded iraq. the iranian stopped and looked around. >> there's a movement in this country that we should go ahead and bomb -- what do you think the day after would be like? >> let me pick that up. i think iran would respond.
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the 1981 israel hit, the one and only nuclear reactor in baghdad. saddam hussein did not do anything. he didn't. in the case of iran, proud, but -- proud country with many facilities, with groups like hezbollah, it is crazy for me to think they would not respond. is it worth it? israel might find it is worth it. >> they have a bunch of missiles. iranians do. >> the retaliation would not have to be nuclear. >> there would be trouble. >> that is why u.s. officials do not want this to happen. they are saying everything is on the table. military experts say israel does not have a massive air force that could keep hitting iran. israel could do it.
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they refueled on the iraq mission in 1981. i think that the israeli planning is not for an extensive, continuous series of air raids. they would try to hit a few facilities in iran, causing a lot of damage to the very sensitive centrifuges. the u.s. version is if we join in, well, it would be 30 days. we would go back again and again. we would go in again. that is the u.s. style. we would hit the defense ministry and their command and control. we would hit the radar facilities. the israelis have a smaller force and they seem to be saying, we don't have to do all that. we are not trying to start a war. i don't think the u.s. and israel agree on how they would do it if they did do it. >> these centrifuges are sensitive. for those who don't know, they
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go at incredible speeds, extremely fragile, and they are filled up with a gas made from an interim stage of uranium. they require a very steady state, no vibration and no interruption to the electrical supply. if you cannot find the and richmond factories -- the enrichment factories, you can find electricity. >> a lot of israelis say sabotage by spies will ruin the activity grid in iran. that could be effective. we don't have to bomb. >> that is what i believe. if you take out the electricity from a modern country, and iran is still a modern country, it would have a devastating effect.
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it turns the population against them. >> that is another issue, after the june election, there were so many people on the edge of joining the grain movement. they could get some courage from -- encouragement from iran. >> if you take out the electricity, the discomfort to the people, particularly in hot weather, would be such that they might not be too happy with their government. if you took up the centrifuges, they would raise their sense of nationalism. that would be difficult. >> never underestimate the nationalism of iran. it is like a tribal society of afghanistan or the tribalism that you see in iraq. the iranians really do hold
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together as a cohesive national poll. that persia nation -- they have a huge nationalism that would be touched off if there was an attack on the nuclear installation. >> that is a warning against a nuclear strike. we will see how it unfolds in geneva. that could postpone all of this. what spies do, they will keep thinking and trying and doing. >> what you made of the recent bombing of the revolutionary guard -- was that spies? >> i don't think so. i think there are groups within iran that do not identify with the government and they will
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stick -- they will try 7 tons. -- try sabotage. >> i think we are in there in that way. >> i want to remind our viewers and listeners that the book is available on amazon. here is another must-have book. the one i most enjoyed, "comic wars." it was not about anything except to greed, stupidity, and high jinks on wall street. if you were thinking of becoming a spy, i have advice for you. don't get your teeth fixed. perfect american teeth are noticeable in any country. please come back. please visit me on the web at
6:28 pm you can read my scribblings, too. goodbye. >> from washington, d.c., this has been "white house chronicle ," featuring llewellyn king, linda gasparello, and guests. this program can be seen on pbs stations. visit us
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